A family saga: In a stunning mountain valley ranch setting near Aspen, complex and dangerous family dynamics play out against the backdrop of the first big snowstorm of winter and an enormous panther with seemingly mythical qualities which is killing cattle.
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Just right for a cold winter's night--stately and luminous Cinemascope photography of the snowy mountain wilderness, tangled family tale off the ancestral tree, moments of absurd and unexpected humor (such as Mitchum's readings of Keats' line "When I have fears that I may cease to be.") Forgotten American gem.
Wellman was capable of extraordinary things (Wild Boys of the Road??), but this is something else. Script by the guy who wrote "On Dangerous Ground," shot by the guy who shot "Liberty Valence," it's unlike anything in the genre (or '50s Hollywood), a film I always worry won't hold up but, instead, becomes less knowable every damn time you watch it.